I think about rows and other upper-body pulling movements a lot.

Here’s why: Do to all the desk-sitting and phone-hunching we do, generally speaking, it serves us very well to pry apart the fronts of our bodies using the muscles in the backs of our bodies, making wide and proud from shoulder to shoulder across, chest broad and clear and wide open. Creating the posture of confidence gives you more space to build it. Embodiment.

I think about them a lot also because if you only have access to a few free weights, such as kettlebells or dumbbells, you may inadvertently end up doing a whoooole bunch of bent-over rows, which are fantastic, but when performed anywhere in the neighborhood of lower-body pulling movements such as swings or deadlifts, that can really tucker out your lower back. Not a goal.

What I like about the kettlebell anchored row is that you get a chance to rest the weights on the ground between reps rather than hanging out in a hinge position. This makes them a tasty treat during circuit workouts.

Kettlebell Alternating Anchored Row

  • Position two kettlebells to the outsides of your feet.
  • Hinge forward from the hips approximately 45 degrees while staying wide across the chest, gripping the handles of each bell. Make sure you’re sitting back strong in your hips, glutes, and hamstrings, rather than depending on the strength endurance of your lower back. This is your starting position. (If you need to raise the kettlebells up in order to maintain the position of your spine, definitely do so! Yoga blocks can be useful for this task, or any box sturdy enough to securely host the weight of the bell.)
  • Keeping your elbow no more than 30 degrees out from your body and your shoulders down and away from your ears, pull one kettlebell up toward your rib cage using the muscles of your upper back.
  • As soon as you return that weight to the start position, row the other upward.
  • Keep alternating sides, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Unapologetically Strong’s founder, Jen Sinkler, is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and personal trainer who has been working in the fitness realm since 2003. Her goal is to foster a fitness space that allows people to explore a variety of fitness pursuits, connect in ways that honor all aspects of their identities, and generally flourish as their strongest selves.